Fall Challenge Cycle: October 1st through December 1st

Our sincere apologies to any educators who had started planning units for either Poppy or The Relatives Came for their classroom before we switched it to Weslandia. In light of the fact that some have already started the original books, we now will have two different submission options for the October 1st to December 1st cycle: Weslandia, written by Paul Fleischman and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, and Poppy by Avi.

First, make sure to register, and review the challenges overview!


View Weslandia unit guide.

Summary of book

Wesley is very different from other boys his age. He refuses to conform to their fashions and interests, which leaves him bullied and with no friends. Building on what he’s learned at school, Wesley decides to build his own food crop and found a civilization over summer break. The wind blows seeds into Wesley’s garden which grow into enormous plants like he’s never seen before. Wesley names these plants “swists.” He uses their parts to create food, clothing, shelter, sports, and his own civilization: Weslandia. At first, Wesley’s former tormenters are scornful, but Wesley allows them into his civilization and by the end of the summer they become friends.

Sampling of problems from previous students

  • Wesley needs to take care of his swist plants by watering and harvesting them
  • Wesley needs a way to easily travel up to, down from, and between platforms he has made up in his swist trees
  • Wesley needs a shelter that protects him from rain and poor weather

Sample solutions designed by students

  • A zip line to transport Wesley around Weslandia
  • A rain-proof shelter to protect Wesley in bad weather
  • Portable stairs to help Wesley harvest the swist fruit
  • An irrigation system that allows Wesley to easily water his crops

Submit your solution for the Weslandia Fall Challenge below!


View Poppy unit guide.

Summary of book

Poppy and her family were living happily in their home, protected by the great owl, Mr. Ocax. One day, Poppy disobeys Mr. Ocax’s orders and ventures into the forest to protect her family. Her dangerous journey takes her across a creek and through the forest, which she must do without being spotted by Mr. Ocax and the other animals. Throughout the book, Poppy faces obstacles that students can solve through engineering, while keeping in mind the constraints she and the characters might have. For this Novel Engineering book, students may want to create a structure to protect Poppy and other mice from Mr. Ocax, one to help her cross the creek, or even a device to help Mr. Ocax catch Poppy.

Sampling of problems from previous students

  • Poppy needs protection
  • Poppy needs help crossing Glitter Creek
  • An efficient way to get the salt for Ereth
  • Mr. Ocax can’t catch Poppy

Sample solutions designed by students

  • A house to protect the mice from Mr. Ocax
  • A raft to help Poppy cross the creek
  • A trap to help Mr. Ocax catch Poppy

Submit your solution for the Poppy Fall Challenge below!